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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Propane Question

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time2roll

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Posted: 11/26/19 09:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK to bring an extra cylinder in extreme conditions. Can be hard to fill if the regulator shows red into the evening. Verify the hours of the filling station or store for exchange.


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Gdetrailer

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Posted: 11/27/19 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

happy2rv wrote:

rhagfo wrote:


Every time I had my empty 20# tank filled, it took 5 gallons to fill, our 30# tanks will take 7 to 7.2 gallons to fill when empty.


It shouldn't take 5 gallons to fill a 20#. Propane should weigh 4.22 pounds per gallon which equates to 4.73 gallons for 20#, so I was low when I said 4.5 gallons. That's assuming it's filled to capacity which can vary by who is doing the filling. Assumption is OPD should kick in at 20# but I don't know how precise those are. 7.1-7.2 gallons should be spot on for a completely empty 30# tank.

Also, to be fair, I did round the usage saying approximately 1/4 gallon per hour. So, assuming 91500 BTU/HR capacity 20000/91500=.2185745 gallons per hour or 21.64 hours for 4.73 gallons. All these calculations are very precise, but reality isn't so precise. I seriously doubt the 20K BTU is 100% efficient and exactly 20K BTU. I also seriously doubt that if you take 10 random 20# propane tanks any of them will hold exactly 4.73 gallons of usable propane. So, I would say approximately 20 hours of continuous run time from a full 20# tank. Again noting if you use exchange tanks they will almost certainly never be full when exchanged.


Happy, I suspect that your first "rounded" 18 hrs is a bit closer to reality, especially when dealing with temps below 32F.

RV propane systems require propane VAPOR, the cylinders are designed to deliver VAPOR but in reality it is filled with LIQUID. So, the tank must convert the liquid propane into VAPOR.

The conversion of liquid propane to vapor propane slows down in extreme cold. This means you will get to a point where there is still liquid propane in the tank but yet you do not get enough vapor.

In other words, less capacity in cold weather.

On a good note, as someone else mentioned, 18 hrs would be if the furnace ran continuously, in reality it should be able to cycle on/off. That can vary from running say 5 minutes per hr in warm weather to full 60 min per hr in extreme cold.

Depends on outside temp, winds, how much insulation the RV has and the inside set temp.

I suspect that if OP has dual switchover with 2 20lb cylinders they would have enough propane for 2 days of extreme weather camping..

But, for comfort level, perhaps bring a third 20 lb cylinder.

If the OP is planning to make a habit of cold weather camping, I would recommend they consider looking into if it is possible to upgrade to 30 lb cylinders.. They are taller and do weigh more, but would reduce the need to haul around a spare 20 lb cylinder..

Huntindog

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Posted: 11/27/19 12:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Even though I am based in AZ, i often camp in cold weather. My TT has twin 30s, I have a spare 30 and five spare 20s. Sometimes the only propane around is the exchange type.
So when we arrive at camp, I install the 20s and use those first. That way if I need to make a propane run, and all I can find is exchanges, I am good.



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CavemanCharlie

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Posted: 11/28/19 12:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I understand that you are asking "Just In Case" but, if you have power hook up why not take an electric space heater to supplement the propane heater.

Twistedlarch

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Posted: 11/28/19 10:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CavemanCharlie wrote:

I understand that you are asking "Just In Case" but, if you have power hook up why not take an electric space heater to supplement the propane heater.


I do plan to run a a space heater as the main source of heat, but I always like to plan for the worse, especially with my 8-10 yr old boys. "What if"

I did just buy two #30 tanks, Home Depot has them on sale on line for $40 with free shipping to your local store

Brian

rjstractor

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Posted: 11/29/19 10:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Twistedlarch wrote:

Thanks all for the responses!

I plan to take our trailer up the mountain to our local ski area, they have power hookups but want to prepare for worse case scenario and have enough propane to make it through a cold night.


Thanks!
Brian


If you're on a good 30A power hookup, you can supplement your furnace with a ceramic or radiator-type electric heater. This can save you a lot of propane.

Twistedlarch

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Posted: 11/29/19 11:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CavemanCharlie wrote:

I understand that you are asking "Just In Case" but, if you have power hook up why not take an electric space heater to supplement the propane heater.


I do plan to run a a space heater as the main source of heat, but I always like to plan for the worse, especially with my 8-10 yr old boys. "What if"

I did just buy two #30 tanks, Home Depot has them on sale on line for $40 with free shipping to your local store

Brian

Gdetrailer

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Posted: 11/30/19 08:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Twistedlarch wrote:

CavemanCharlie wrote:

I understand that you are asking "Just In Case" but, if you have power hook up why not take an electric space heater to supplement the propane heater.


I do plan to run a a space heater as the main source of heat, but I always like to plan for the worse, especially with my 8-10 yr old boys. "What if"

I did just buy two #30 tanks, Home Depot has them on sale on line for $40 with free shipping to your local store

Brian


Good plan, you may need to extend the metal rod between the cylinders in order to get the tank clamp on.

Additionally, may need to buy longer pigtails or relocate the regulator so the pigtails reach the taller cylinders.

It is extremely important to tell the propane filling station that you have NEW cylinders that have never been filled.

Brand new cylinders have to be purged of the air inside, the filling station should know how to do this properly.

Failure to purge will result in nearly no liquid propane to enter the tank due to the air inside and you will get pretty much no propane to use especially if the station is not weighing the cylinder while filling (relying on the OPD valve to stop the fill).

campigloo

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Posted: 12/06/19 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

.....and tanks only go empty in the middle of the night. I’m convinced it’s some kind of conspiracy!

time2roll

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Posted: 12/06/19 04:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

campigloo wrote:

.....and tanks only go empty in the middle of the night. I’m convinced it’s some kind of conspiracy!
That is just for those that run one cylinder at a time.

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